Transilvania International Film Festival – About the 19th edition

20 July, 2020

The 19th edition of the Transilvania International Film Festival kick-starts on Friday, July 31, with La Belle Époque (dir. Nicolas Bedos) screening in Unirii Square in Cluj-Napoca. TIFF returns with a summer edition featuring outdoor screenings, adapted programming, and a vacation atmosphere. All protection measures will be taken into account, and outdoor screenings will be organized in clearly delineated spaces, as to allow the distance and safety of all participants.

“It will be a privilege to be with our audience who have supported and looked forward to the festival throughout these months of isolation. We are prepared to apply all protection measures adopted by authorities for open-air screenings, and we hope that the measures for screenings in movie theaters will be confirmed shortly. All our efforts go into prioritizing the safety of our audiences”, explained TIFF President Tudor Giurgiu.

Although some of the programs originally planned for this edition have been put on hold for the next year’s edition, TIFF 2020 promises a diverse program, with events that will captivate the public, such as the thematic section, the Full Moon films, the national, international and documentary Focus sections. Also, the festival projects will be adapted to the current conditions; Transilvania Pitch Stop will take place both online and offline, and the Let’s Go Digital! workshop will be held exclusively online.

Romanian Days

This year, the selection of films within the Romanian Days program is rich in titles presented for the first time in Romania, as well as films that have already got some attention in the international festival circuit. The section includes 21 features and 16 shorts which will screen in the presence of filmmakers in Cluj-Napoca, and 7 of these will have their world premieres.

The selection of Romanian features includes titles like:

Malmkrog (dir. Cristi Puiu) – a period drama, which won the directing award in the Berlinale’s new Encounters section;

Ivana the Terrible (dir. Ivana Mladenović), awarded in Locarno – Ivana Mladenović directs and stars in an unconventional story about belonging and nostalgia;

Acasa, My Home (dir. Radu Ciorniciuc), Special Jury Award for cinematography at Sundance – the film documents the life of a family forced to move from the place they call home, Delta Vacaresti;

Uppercase Print (dir. Radu Jude) – a film that  juxtaposes Romanian state television archives with the true story of a teenager who wrote subversive graffiti during the last years of Communism, adapted from Gianina Carbunariu’s documentary theater piece;

Collective (dir. Alexander Nanau) – reveals a web of corruption, lies, and manipulation in Romania’s health care system;

5 Minutes Too Late (dir. Dan Chisu) – based on a true story about police intervention in a protest against an LGBT-themed film screening at the Romanian Peasant Museum in Bucharest;

And They May Still Be Alive Today (dir. Tudor Cristian Jurgiu) – the story of a young couple seduced by the idea of perfect, true love;

Marona’s Fantastic Tale (dir. Anca Damian) – the moving story of a puppy with a heart-shaped nose;

The Cardinal (dir. Nicolae Margineanu) – the story of Greek-Catholic bishop Iuliu Hossu, who read the union act before the Romanians gathered in Alba Iulia on December 1st, 1918.

The selection of feature-length films also includes Carturan (dir. Liviu Sandulescu), Begin (dir. Razvan Savescu), The Delta of Bucharest (dir. Eva Pervolovici), Well… What Is Freedom, Then? (dir. Andrei Zinca), Wood (dir. Monica Lazurean Gorgan, Michaela Kirst and Ebba Sinzinger), Everything Will Not Be Fine (dir. Adrian Parvu and Helena Maksyom), House of Dolls (dir. Tudor Platon), Teach (dir. Alex Brendea), Please Hold the Line (dir. Pavel Cuzuioc), Siberia in the Bones (dir. Leontina Vataman-Margineanu), The Soviet Garden (dir. Dragos Turea).

The Romanian Days selection is completed by 16 shorts, most of them presented in premiere:

Contraindications (dir. Lucia Chicos), included in the 2020 Cinéfondation selection in Cannes; He Loves My Eyes (dir. Enxhi Rista), which was voted best short documentary at the 2020 Gopo Awards; These Days (dir. Andrei Cretulescu); the animation Death and the Knight (dir. Radu Gaciu); Fairy Fever (dir. Tudor Cristian Jurgiu); My Month (dir. Claudiu Mitcu); Sasha and Petre (dir. Luca Istodor); Zimnicea (dir. Bogdan Naumovici); Sorrow (dir. Sarra Tsorakidis); Flunked (dir. George ve Ganaeaard); Idyll (dir. Mihai Mincan); Everything for Riana (dir. Mihai Dragolea); Laila (dir. Raya Al Souliman); Forgiving Ticket (dir. Alina Serban); What the heck should I write about? (dir. Matei Monoranu), Bucharest Seen from Above (dir. Andrei Rautu).

Focus Italy

TIFF 19 brings Italy and its exceptional cinema into the spotlight with a Focus Italy section and a Close-up Federico Fellini, as a centennial celebration of one of the most influential filmmakers in history.

The festival will feature films such as Simple Woman (dir. Chiara Malta, co-produced by Ada Solomon), Il traditore (dir. Marco Bellocchio), Vivere (dir. Francesca Archibugi) and, of course, eight of Federico Fellini’s cinematic masterpieces, most of them digitally restored: I Vitelloni, La Dolce Vita, 8½, Giulietta degli spiriti, Roma, Amarcord, E la nave va, La voce della luna.

TIFF Official Competition

The TIFF 2020 Official Competition includes 12 feature films by first-time or sophomore feature film directors, such as:

Tantas almas (dir. Nicolás Rincón Gille) – about a desperate father trying to recover the bodies of his two sons felled by civil war cruelty;

Patrick (dir. Tim Mielants) – a black tragicomedy set in a nudist camp, winner of the directing award at the Karlovy Vary festival;

A Hairy Tale (dir. Amir Homayoun Ghanizadeh) – a black comedy and an homage to surrealist playwrights. Ghanizadeh is one of the most important theater directors in Iran, who makes his filmmaking debut;

Defunct (dir. Zacharias Mavroeidis) – a 30-year-old man returns to his grandfather’s home trying to carry on the memory of the old war vet, but the time he spends with his war buddies reveals unexpected family secrets.

“Faust” Ciné-Concert

The “Faust” ciné-concert with Jean-François Zygel will take place on August 1, at 9.30 pm, at the Bánffy Castle in Bontida. It is the 12th time that the artist will accompany live F.W.Murnau’s 1926 masterpiece Faust.


For more details, visit the TIFF website. Tickets can be purchased on Eventbook.ro or on the TIFF 2020 app.

Melissa Antonescu Melissa Antonescu
Photographer and editor, she co-founded Dissolved Magazine. For Films in Frame she brings the news from the film world, in the Monday News column. She likes stories, Monty Python and going to the seaside.
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